Port man tried to steal Xmas trees

A PORTARLINGTON man who was caught “red-handed” with a ladder, a balaclava and various pieces of equipment used to break into houses, told the District Court that he had been planning to steal Christmas trees due to financial difficulties.

A PORTARLINGTON man who was caught “red-handed” with a ladder, a balaclava and various pieces of equipment used to break into houses, told the District Court that he had been planning to steal Christmas trees due to financial difficulties.

Leo Broughan, 17 Corrig Glen, Station Road, Port, was charged with possession of certain articles, at Main Street, Port, on December 9 last year.

Inspector Martin Harrington told the court that Broughan was observed walking across a car park at 4am wearing a balaclava and carrying a ladder and a crowbar. When approached by gardaí he dropped the ladder and fled the scene, but was subsequently arrested. The inspector said that Broughan was also detected with a rucksack which contained various housebreaking implements.

The court heard that Broughan has five previous convictions.

“He was caught red-handed and made full admissions,” said defence, Mr Philip Meagher, informing Judge Catherine Staines that the gardaí took the items off Broughan on the night and told him to go home.

Mr Meagher said his client, a 52-year-old father of two, is on social welfare and as it had been coming up to Christmas he had been under financial difficulties, such as an outstanding ESB bill. Mr Meagher said it had been Broughan’s intention to get some Christmas trees from storage by climbing over a wall with the aid of the ladder and then putting black sacks over the trees.

“He was not intending to break into someone’s house,” said Mr Meagher.

Judge Staines sentenced Broughan to 150 hours’ community service in lieu of five months in prison. The matter was put back to July 19.